A HERMIT IN THE HIMALAYAS Garhwal, although politically under British protection, has never attracted English residents and remains, under its own Maharajah, to all intents and purposes, as conservatively Indian as it has been for centuries. It is remote from all railways. No tourist and no tripper yet cheapens this land. Moreover, a special permit is required by any European to enter that part of the State which abuts on Tibet The difficulties of access and travel, the absence of civilized amenities, the lack of modern transport, and the unfamiliarity of the inhabitants with Western ways are things which keep white travellers away, except perhaps for a few rare and ultra-keen sportsmen intent on hunting wild game. But those are the very things which will now attract me. Moreover, the most sacred shrines of India are here. Many stories of the deities, sages and Yogis who have lived hi this secluded kingdom have come down from the mists of tradition. Here, if anywhere, I may find a fit spot for my medita- tions, for it is set amid the world's grandest scenery. The cold grey shade that precedes the sun's rising has disappeared. Dawn has spread over the East like a pinkish pearl. When the music of twittering, chirruping, singing and jubilant birds, excited over the event, has somewhat subsided, I get the bags opened. What a varied mass of things have been jammed and welded together! It is really wonderful how much can be stowed away inside a military pattern kitbag! Suits, shirts, shoes, food, papers, lamps and what not disappear down an eyeletted yawning mouth into its voluminous stomach and still it asks for more! Next I set forth to explore the environment, to make myself more familiar with it, and to select a spot where the onerous task of doing nothing in particular might suitably be undertaken! Here I am at last, perched on top of a narrow ridge, the dividing barrier between two deep valleys. My first view is of the forest, my second of the snows. It is a striking and superb scene. My bedroom possesses a back door which opens out to the north-east, and to sight of the grandest heights on the globe. There, above the tops of the fir and deodar trees which literally grow within a few inches of thejioor, and which are rooted down below on the mountain-side, the long and rugged barrier of snow-covered peaks and pinnacles which separates Tehri State from Tibet towers high above the whole countryside. Some of these slopes are too steep even to afford hold to the snows and these show grey against the prevailing white. A veritable conflagration of colours blazes across the heavens. a?